A large part of what makes athletes idolized by millions of people around the world is because of the lavish lifestyle. All of the top athletes are not only hugely talented, but they are also rich and able to afford a glamorous life. This includes breathtaking mansions, fast cars, designer clothing, expensive jewellery all the latest and most expensive technology, and anything else that most people dream of having on a daily basis. Unfortunately not everyone sees this and it inspires them to work hard and earn their own fortune, and in some cases people decide that instead they will cut the hard work out and instead steal directly from athletes under their own nose.
When you are a professional athlete, your life becomes very public and particularly your wages. In addition to knowing how much money you earn each week, people are also aware of when you are not at home and this can be very dangerous. Most athletes will be smart enough to spend part of their fortune on a sophisticated security system, but criminals still sometimes manage to find a way to steal from an athlete whether it is from their home or even out on the streets.
There are of course dozens of advantages to being a professional athlete and it is the dream of fans around the world to experience the lifestyle. Some people want the lifestyle so badly that they are willing to commit a crime just to taste it, and this is one major downside to being a sportsman.
Here are 15 professional athletes that have been victims of robbery.
15 Stephon Marbury
Back when Stephon Marbury played for the New Jersey Nets in 2000, he became a victim of robbery while he sat in a car. After leaving a nightclub in Manhattan, Marbury and a friend got into a car with Marbury in the passenger seat. Two men then approached the car from either side, before one reached through the passenger window and stole his necklace. They then got into a car and drove off. Having a necklace stolen may not sound like the end of the world for most, but that evening Starbury was rocking a piece worth a staggering $150,000.
14 Jayson Williams
Former NBA star Jayson Williams had his South Carolina residence robbed while he was away from the house in 2010, seeing the robber get off with more than $150,000 in sports memorabilia, electronics and jewelry. Williams’ wife, Tanya Young-Williams, stated “I want my memorabilia back because they mean more to me than what they represent”. The memorabilia included golf shoes signed by Tiger Woods, basketball shorts signed by Wilt Chamberlain and a lyric sheet signed by Tupac Shakur.
13 Steve Smith
Whilst playing for the Giants in 2008, Steve Smith (not the Panthers legend) was held up at gunpoint and robbed outside of his home. Smith lived in a gated community, and as he was returning home he was approached by a man with a gun who told Smith to give him everything he had. The former wide receiver gave up his jewelry, cell phone and money to the robber. This just goes to show that living in a nice neighborhood does not make you safe from crime.
12 CC Sabathia
In 2002, whilst playing with the Indians, CC Sabathia was robbed at gunpoint. The incident occurred after the pitcher and his cousin went back to a hotel with a group of people they had just met at a nightclub. Once they got to the room, the men pulled guns on them and stole Sabathia’s necklace, wallet and earrings. Sabathia realized his mistake and owned up to it, stating “it was totally my fault. There’s nobody to blame but me”.
11 Chris Childs
If you are coming out of P.Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean Combs’ nightclub, there is a good chance that you lead a pretty glamorous lifestyle. In 2002, New Jersey Nets guard Chris Childs was leaving the nightclub and began walking across the car park when four men (one being armed) approached Childs and demanded his jewelry. He handed over his gold watch, gold necklace, cell phone and wallet before the muggers fled the scene. They would not get far however after Childs contacted the police, with all four being arrested and his wallet and watch being recovered. As if that wasn’t a bad enough experience, Childs was cut from the team the next day for being out of shape.
10 Shelden Williams
In 2007, Shelden Williams was carjacked at gunpoint before a game against the Charlotte Hornets. A few hours after the incident, two suspects were arrested after they were found in his car. The two suspects were attempting another robbery in the car, and one of the suspects would have to be taken to hospital after suffering from dog bites from the police canine unit. Williams would make it to the game, but he would play just a few minutes and did not make himself available for interviews but would state that “it’s been a really long day, but I’m fine.
9 Gary Payton
During the All-Star break in 1993, NBA legend Gary Payton returned to San Francisco with his girlfriend to visit friends and family. Whilst in an apartment-building parking lot, Payton was confronted and a man pulled a gun on him. After being threatened, Payton handed over his watch, ring, a necklace and $1,000 in cash. He then attempted to grab the robber’s gun, and the struggle caused a shot to be fired into the ground. Payton was then able to sprint to safety, but the gunman would get away with around $60,000 worth of money and jewelry. The Glove would state “People know you. They watch you. They follow you. Then they come out of the dark and hold you up.”
8 Tim Carter
In his rookie season with the Giants in 2002, wide receiver Tim Carter had a harrowing experience which saw him carjacked and robbed. After leaving a movie theater in New Jersey, two men grabbed Carter and pushed him into his BMW. They then drove him around and forced him to stop at ATMs to make withdrawals. The robbers stole around $10,000 as well as his jewelry, and they would then dump Carter before they took off with his car. They would leave him $40 however, which he then sensibly used to get a taxi to the police station.
7 Stephen Jackson
In 2010, armed men broke into NBA player Stephen Jackson’s gated community home in Charlotte. Jackson was not on the property (he was at training camp), but his wife was and she was held at gunpoint before being locked in the bathroom. His wife was not harmed but the home invaders took multiple items, including jewelry, wallets, a stun gun and a handgun. The property was one of two dozen million dollar homes in the gated community, but this did little to deter the criminals from breaking in.
6 Dunta Robinson
Whilst playing for the Texans in 2007, cornerback Dunta Robinson was robbed at gunpoint at his home in a gated community. Police were baffled as to how these men gained access to the community, but the assailants would be found and charged largely thanks to the ingenuity of Robinson. The two men had bandannas covering their faces, with one keeping Robinson at gunpoint whilst the other stole money and jewelry. Robinson was able to persuade them to remove their bandannas however, and he was then able to later identify them and they would then be charged and imprisoned.
5 Antoine Walker
Despite being an imposing 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds, former NBA player Antoine Walker became a victim of crime and had a life threatening experience in 2009. Three masked men entered his home in River North, and they then held a gun to his head and duct-taped both his ankles and his wrists. They then robbed him of his Mercedes, jewelry and plenty of cash too. Although Walker was unharmed, it was a traumatic experience and one that will no doubt have scarred him for life.
4 Jerome McDougle
In 2005, defensive end Jerome McDougle was seated in his Mercedes in Southwest Miami where he was then approached by three teenage males. They took his watch, but one of the assailants then panicked when McDougle reached for his wallet and shot him in the stomach. McDougle was airlifted to hospital and was in critical condition, and he then had surgery and fortunately the bullet did not hit any major organs. McDougle made a full recovery and was able to contribute playing, but it is another troubling tale of an athlete being targeted and even harmed due to his wealth.
3 Eddy Curry
While playing for the Knicks in 2007, Eddy Curry and his family endured a horrible incident at their suburban home in Chicago. Robbers entered the family home, and then proceeded to tie up Curry, his family and an employee with duct-tape. They then made off with various items including jewelry and cash. Although traumatized by the incident, fortunately nobody was hurt in the robbery. Strangely enough, this robbery occurred the same weekend that Antoine Walker was robbed also in Chicago.
2 Vernon Forrest
Vernon Forrest was welterweight and light middleweight world champion in his career, but his life would tragically be cut short after he was murdered during a robbery. Whilst stopping for gas in Atlanta in 2009, Forest sent his 11-year-old godson into the station whilst he went to add air to a low tire. He was then robbed at gunpoint, but Forest would chase the robber and fired shots at him (Forest was also armed). He then began talking to a second person, who would shoot him multiple times in the back. He died at the scene of the crime, with three men being arrested and charged (a robber, shooter and driver). The shooter was sentenced to death whilst the other two were sentenced to life imprisonment.
1 Sean Taylor
The tragic story of Sean Taylor rocked the sporting world, seeing the free safety for the Washington Redskins die at just 24 years old. Whilst Taylor was away from the house, he was robbed in November of 2007. Just eight days later, the robbers returned again but did not expect Taylor to be at home as the Redskins had a game (he was injured). Taylor was in fact home with his girlfriend and baby daughter, and he was shot after confronting the intruders. This shot severed his femoral artery and he would die in hospital a day later. Five men were arrested and charged shortly after, and gunman Eric Rivera Jr. avoided the death penalty as he was just 17 years old at the time.